DNR plans prescribed burns on 2,100 acres across Washington this spring

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Washington State Department of Natural Resources

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) plans on igniting at least seven prescribed burns on state trust lands this spring, according to a Thursday announcement.

According to the DNR, these prescribed burns will take place in areas of central and eastern Washington, and will begin in early April. There is a chance these burns could run through May or early June.

"Prescribed fire is one of the most important tools we have to restore the health of our forests," said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. "Prescribed fire is one of the most cost-effective ways for us to remove excess fuels and create defensible space for wildland firefighters as they fight to protect our homes and communities each summer."

The DNR says prescribed burns are a common tool used by land managers and conservation groups to reduce the amount of fuel, or plant-life that burns easily, for wildfires. 

Other benefits of prescribed burns: 

  • It improves the health of older trees
  • Supports new and current wildlife habitats
  • Recycles soil nutrients back into the ground

RELATED: DNR to study impact on debris flows in Bolt Creek Fire burn area after heavy rainfall

The DNR says completing these prescribed burns also provides a safer landscape for wildland firefighters. 

Last year, the DNR ended a 15-year pause of broadcast burning on state trust lands in northeast Washington. This year, new agreements with The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service will accelerate prescribed burns and unlock opportunities for cross-boundary burning.

"These new agreements to work collaboratively and to share resources across boundaries not only strengthen the existing partnerships we have across Washington, but will enable us to forge new ones as we continue to invest in prescribed fire around the state," said Prescribed Fire Program Manager Jeff Dimke.

The list of prescribed burns will cover more than 2,100 acres across five watersheds of the 20-year Forest Health Strategic Plan for eastern Washington: 

  • Airport: 659 acres near Glenwood in Klickitat County
  • Black Diamond – Aeneas Valley: 142 acres near Tonasket in Okanogan County
  • Black Diomond – Havillah: 398 acres near Tonasket in Okanogan County
  • Biggs Pit: 240 acres near Deer Park in Spokane County
  • Plumback: 195 acres near Cle Elum in Kittitas County
  • Sinlahekin: 140 acres near Loomis in Okanogan County
  • South Park: 370 acres near Glenwood in Klickitat County

For more information, visit the DNR's website here.